Welcome to the Monday, July 17, Brew.
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- State legislative party switches in 2023 occurring at twice the 30-year average
- Nine candidates running in nonpartisan primary for mayor of Wichita, Kansas
- A look at some of this cycle’s presidential campaign managers
State legislative party switches in 2023 occurring at twice the 30-year average
Last week, Georgia Rep. Mesha Mainor announced she had changed her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, becoming the 10th state lawmaker to switch parties this year. Since 1994, we’ve tracked 173 party switches by state lawmakers—47 state senators and 126 state representatives, an average of five per year.
The legislators who have switched parties in 2023 are:
State legislators who switched from Republican to Democrat
- Samuel Thompson (N.J. Senate)
State legislators who switched from Democrat to Republican
- Francis Thompson (LA House)
- Tricia Cotham (N.C. House)
- Jeremy LaCombe (LA House)
- David Pritt (W.V. House)
- Mesha Mainor (GA House)
State legislators who switched from Democrat to Independent
State legislators who switched from Independent to Democrat
- Roy Adams (LA House)
State legislators who switched from Republican to Libertarian
- Jarrod Sammis (VT House)
Eighty-three Democrats have switched to the Republican party since 1994, while 25 Republicans have switched to the Democratic party. There are five years (2000, 2001, 2006, 2018, 2019) where Democrats gained more seats than Republicans through party switches. Every other year, Republicans gained more seats. Switches tied once in 2007 when five Republicans and five Democrats switched parties.
The most party switches since 1994 occurred in 2010, when 25 legislators switched from Democrats to Republicans, and three legislators became independents after affiliating with a major party. In total, 28 party switches took place that year.
Twenty-three independent or third-party lawmakers have joined a major party since 1994. Democrats have gained 13 seats from these switches, and Republicans have gained 10.
Four lawmakers have switched parties twice since 1994, accounting for eight changes in total:
- In Maine, state Rep. John Andrews left the Republican Party in December 2020 to register as a Libertarian. He switched his affiliation back to Republican in December 2021.
- In Louisiana, state Rep. Malinda White left the Democratic Party in 2021 to become an independent. In 2022, she joined the Republican Party.
- In Nebraska, state. Sen. Bob Krist left the Republican party in 2017 to run in the 2018 governor’s race as a minor party candidate. In 2018, Krist joined the Democratic Party.
- In Kansas, state Sen. Aaron Coleman briefly left the Democratic Party in January 2021. He rejoined the party the following month.
Ballotpedia tracked 20 party switches in Mississippi between 1994 and 2023. That’s the most of any state, followed by Louisiana (17) and Georgia (16).
Nine candidates running in nonpartisan primary for mayor of Wichita, Kansas
Nine candidates, including incumbent Brandon Whipple, are running in the nonpartisan primary election for mayor of Wichita, Kansas on Aug. 1. The top two vote-getters will advance to a Nov. 7 general election. Wichita is the 48th largest city in the United States, with a population of 397,532.
According to Friends University Prof. Russell Arben Fox, “the primary election is going to be a question of who is able to get their friends out into vote, who is able to get the people that are most closely associated with their social networks, their professional networks, their party networks, their political networks, out to vote.”
Whipple defeated then-incumbent Jeff Longwell in 2019 and previously served in the state legislature as a Democrat from 2013 to 2020. Whipple said he wanted Wichita to focus on large issues: “We need to aim big and solve big problems. We have more of a surplus in our rainy day fund than at any time in our city’s history. It isn’t the time to let our foot off the gas when it comes to growing more opportunities.”
Cerullo is a news anchor and reporter who served on the Wichita City Council from 2021 to 2022. According to Wichita Eagle‘s Matthew Kelly, “Cerullo has emerged as a vocal critic of Mayor Brandon Whipple, who he frequently sparred with on the City Council.”
Cerullo said, “We need to stop playing politics with City Hall and get back to the basics of serving our people. Making sure our roads are fixed, our bridges are fixed, our water is clean, our parks are kept up.”
Frye is the senior director of investor relations at the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. At his campaign kick-off, Frye said, “Wichita can be that next leading city, full of vibrancy and possibility. And we’ll do it with compassion, fairness, grit and forward thinking that has all neighborhoods represented.”
Racette is the founder and chair of Save Century II, an organization whose mission is to preserve Wichita’s Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center. Racette said, “We want more of a voice in city government and how finances are handled. That’s why I’m running for mayor — to be the watchdog of our finances and to provide financial oversight to public over private interests, to enhance public safety and to save Century II.”
Wu was a reporter and news anchor for Wichita-area television stations for 12 years. At her campaign announcement, Wu said: “Restoring trust in city hall really has to do with a change in leadership. I think what we need right now is a leader and an ambassador, like I mentioned, that helps bring back the trust (between residents and city representatives).”
Though the race is officially nonpartisan, Whipple is a Democrat. The Wichita Eagle‘s Chance Swaim reported that “Frye and Cerullo are Republicans. Racette and Wu, both first-time candidates for city office, recently changed parties. Wu switched from Republican to Libertarian in 2022, and Racette changed from Democratic to unaffiliated in 2021.”
Wichita has a council-manager system of government where the elected city council—which includes the mayor and serves as the city’s primary legislative body—appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council’s policy and legislative initiatives.
As of June 2023, Democrats held 63 of the mayoral offices in the 100 largest cities in the United States, Republicans held 24, independents held four, and nonpartisan mayors held seven. Two mayors’ partisan affiliations were unknown.
Twenty-nine of the 100 largest cities are holding mayoral elections in 2023. Fourteen elections have already occurred, and 15 will take place between now and November. Two cities—Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Jacksonville, Florida—had a change in mayoral partisan affiliation as a result of this year’s elections.
A look at some of this cycle’s presidential campaign managers
It takes a lot of work to run a presidential campaign. That’s true for the candidates, and also for the thousands of staffers and volunteers who power the campaign across the country. We track the key campaign staff behind each of the 16 noteworthy presidential candidates running in the 2024 election.
So far, we’ve identified eight presidential campaign managers. A campaign manager is typically the highest-ranking staff member. They oversee such activities as fundraising, strategy, advertising, and getting out the vote.
Let’s take a look at the campaign managers we’ve identified so far.
- Joe Biden: Biden tapped Julie Chavez Rodriguez to manage his re-election campaign. She most recently worked in the White House as a senior advisor to the president and as director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In the 2020 presidential election, Chavez Rodriguez worked on Kamala Harris’ (D) primary campaign before joining the Biden-Harris campaign in the general election.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is managing Kennedy Jr.’s presidential campaign. Kucinich is the only former federal officeholder we’ve identified currently serving as a campaign manager in the 2024 presidential election.
- Marianne Williamson: Williamson recently selected Carlos Cardona to manage her campaign. Williamson elevated Cardona from his role as New Hampshire state director after some turnover. Williamson has previously had two other campaign managers, Peter Daou and Roza Calderon, who resigned in May and June, respectively.
- Doug Burgum: Burgum picked Mike Zolnierowicz as his campaign manager. Zolnierowicz previously worked as Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s (R) chief of staff. Burgum’s key staff includes several other individuals who have worked in Illinois politics, including Lance Trover, who serves as press secretary, and Chris and Mike Schrimpf, co-directors of communications.
- Ron DeSantis: DeSantis’ campaign manager is Generra Peck, who ran his successful 2022 gubernatorial campaign. DeSantis defeated Charlie Crist (D) 59% to 40% in that election.
- Nikki Haley: Haley’s campaign manager, Betsy Ankney, most recently served as the executive director of Haley’s leadership PAC, Stand for America.
- Vivek Ramaswamy: Ramaswamy’s campaign manager, Ben Yoho, is the founder and chief executive officer of the Ohio-based Strategy Group Company, a political consulting firm.
- Tim Scott: Scott’s campaign manager is Jennifer DeCasper, a political consultant who worked as a senior aide to Scott in the U.S. Senate.
Ballotpedia wasn’t able to identify campaign managers for the following Republican candidates: Chris Christie, Larry Elder, Will Hurd, Asa Hutchinson, Mike Pence, Corey Stapleton, Francis Suarez, or Donald Trump. Know of any staff we missed? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read more about the key staffers in the 2024 presidential election, click the link below. To view our coverage of 2020 presidential campaign staffers, click here. For our coverage of key 2016 campaign staffers, click here.